Guizhou, called “Qian” or “Gui” for short, is situated in the southwest of China, with Guiyang as its provincial capital. It is a mountainous province that lies on the eastern part of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateaux, and adjoins Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality to the north, Yunnan Province to the west, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to the south and Hunan Province to the east.
Guizhou, enjoying a reputation of being the “tourism treasure house of China” and the “natural park in the world”, is primarily known for its picturesque landscapes and rich and distinctive folk customs and cultures of the different ethnic groups. With a temperate climate, Guizhou is also an ideal summer resort as it is neither cold in winter nor hot in summer.
Guizhou is one of the most typical areas with the karst landform in the world, and its karst terrains account for 73 percent of its total area. Its special geological form and special geographical conditions have given birth to the karst features integrating mountains, rivers, waterfalls, caves, lakes and forests.
The most famous scenic spot in Guizhou is the Huangguoshu Waterfall, which has become synonymous with the province itself. It is the largest waterfall in China and Asia, as well as one of the famous waterfalls in the world. The Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park is known for the hanging waterfalls, karst caves, natural miniature landscape, stone forests on waters, running waters in the high mountains, and deep and serene valleys.
The erosions of the karst rocks by water have led to many underground tunnels and caves, among which the Zhijin Cave and the Dragon Palace (Longgong Caves) are the two most famous ones. The Zhijin Cave, also known as Daji Cave, enjoys a high reputation because of its larges size, various types of karst caves and magnificent landscapes. At present the cave is divided into 10 scenic zones, with 47 caves and halls and more than forty kinds of karst formations in the caves, hence Zhijin Cave is called the “Museum of Karsts”. The Longgong Scenic Zone boasts the longest water karst carvern, the largest waterfall in the karst cavern and the lowest natural radicalization in China.
The other famous scenic spots of Guizhou include: Fanjing Mountain (Fanjingshan), a natural scenic spot as well as a Buddhist sacred land, enjoying the reputation of being the “Ecological Kingdom”; Zhengyuan Old Town, a 2,000-year-old river town with Wuyang River cutting through gives you a taste of other great qualities of China; Maling River Canyon which is famous for its deep rift, waterfalls and calcium tapestries and an ideal place for river drifting; and Chishui Danxia Landform which is listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage, and so on.
Unique Folk Customs and Culture
Guizhou is home to 49 out of 56 ethnic groups in China, second only to Yunnan Province. Among them, 17 ethnic minorities have been living in Guizhou for generations, making up 39 percent of the total population of the province. Over the past years, all the people of different ethnic groups in Guizhou have well preserved the original culture, unsophisticated and strong customs and lifestyle, unusual architectural structures, costumes, food, wedding customs, festivals, celebrations, songs and dances, and sacrificial rites, showing the folk customs and lifestyle in varied colorful splendor. For instance, group dance of the Yi people, wine song and bronze drum of the Bouyei people have attracted visitors far and wide. The famous ethnic festivals of March the 3rd and April the 8th (in Chinese lunar calendar) are becoming internationally famous events.
Qiandongnan Prefecture (southeastern corner of the province) is the largest region where the Miao and Dong people live in compact communities in China. Xijiang Miao Village, which is about 80 kilometers away from Kaili (the capital of the prefecture), is known as the “one-thousand-household Miao village” as well as the biggest Miao village in China. In Guizhou there are many covered bridges called Wind and Rain Bridges, which are the symbols of Dong ethnic group.
Guizhou Cuisine (Qian Cuisine)
Guizhou dishes are as spicy as Sichuan and Hunan dishes, but are fresher and sourer. The sour taste is the focus of Guizhou Cuisine. Special dishes include noodles with intestines, Yelang dough fish, Tangyuan (dumplings made of glutinous rice flour), and steamed (or fried) glutinous rice paste wrapped in lotus leaves, etc.
Local Products and Specialties
Guizhou is the home of the famous Chinese liquor Maotai, which is considered the national liquor of China and one of the world’s three best distilled liquors along with Scottish Whiskey and French Cognac Brand. The other traditional local products and specialties of Guizhou include: Miao silver ornaments and embroideries, batiks, Bouyei carpets, and so on.